Qualcomm has come out the other side victorious in its latest battle with Apple.
The San Diego-based company today confirmed that a U.S. court (also in San Diego) has found Apple to be in breach of three of its patents.
One of the parents relates to "flashless booting" which helps smartphones to quickly connect to the internet. The second helps to mitigate against the speed of data transfer between smartphone apps and the internet. While the third involves improvements to battery life and specifically within the context of gaming.
It would seem the court agreed that various iPhone models infringed on two of the Qualcomm patents while the iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X managed to infringe on all three. However, collectively Qualcomm was only awarded $31 million in damages.
The damages value is fairly low considering what it could have been and this is due to them being limited to the date in which Qualcomm originally filed the lawsuit – July 2017. Therefore, although Apple is likely to be disappointed with the overall loss, it will feel somewhat of a win as it could have been far worse if the iPhone-maker was found to be liable for the entirety of the iPhone's existence. This is something Qualcomm has originally been seeking and if successful it could have resulted in financial damages being awarded for each iPhone sold to date that used the disputed technology. However, that was not the case with the damages limited to iPhone sales since the lawsuit came about.
In either case, it is a win for Qualcomm and that matters as it continues to see the company making minor gains as part of its much wider litigation efforts with Apple with the announcement also highlighting past wins in Germany and China during the last six months for different patent infringements.
Qualcomm is no stranger when it comes to patents as it currently holds a significant amount. However, it has come under criticism by some for the way in which it executes those patents and in particular the fees it charges companies for use of its patented technologies.
The latter of which has escalated quickly for Qualcomm with the company coming under the scope of various government agencies in different parts of the world, along with accusations of monopolizing the market.
This has led to a fairly public fight between Qualcomm and Apple specifically, with Apple refusing to pay for the use of patents and Qualcomm looking to enforce the rights afforded to it through the patent ownership.
Neither currently seem that interested in dialing down the battle going forward and neither has been that concerned about vocalizing how they feel about the other in public. For example, as part of the announcement today, Qualcomm took the opportunity to add "the technologies invented by Qualcomm and others are what made it possible for Apple to enter the market and become so successful so quickly."
Although this is a win for Qualcomm, it is only a win for today with the two due to do battle in the courts again next month. This win may prove useful in the larger upcoming lawsuit though, as it does establish an awarded per-iPhone damages value.